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John Lewis to fund sustainable cashmere programme

By Huw Hughes

26 Feb 2021


John Lewis is to fund a sustainable cashmere programme in Inner Mongolia run by non-profit international organisation the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA).

The three year programme will support the expansion of the SFA’s new Cashmere Standard from Mongolia to the Inner Mongolia region of China.

The SFA has developed a global standard for cashmere to promote best practice in land management, animal welfare, fibre processing and supply chain transparency in an effort to ensure the long-term viability of the cashmere sector.

It comes amid concerns the global demand for cashmere is putting pressure on the fragile ecosystems the cashmere industry relies upon.

John Lewis said it will fund the training of 420 herders in Inner Mongolia, which will be provided by animal welfare NGO the International Cooperation Committee of Animal Welfare (ICCAW), along with experts from a local agricultural university.

Once the training is complete, herders will carry out self-assessments against the requirements of the SFA’s standard and undergo independent farm inspections before being given SFA accreditation.

In the first year, the programme will focus on animal welfare, before expanding to cover the protection of biodiversity and how to secure herder livelihoods in the long term, John Lewis said.

The retailer has previously announced a target to have its entire range of own-brand products made from sustainable or recycled sources by 2025

“We’re very proud to be a pioneer member of the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) and to play a part in developing their global standard for sustainable cashmere production,” said Marija Rompani, partner and director of ethics and sustainability for the John Lewis Partnership, in a statement.

“This work will protect the welfare of the goats, the land and the livelihoods of thousands of families who are dependent upon the production of cashmere fibres.”

SFA founder and CEO Una Jones said: “We are delighted to have the support of John Lewis, a respected brand, and their suppliers. Together with our other pioneering partners we are confident we can lead the way in developing the cashmere industry to achieve consistent high standards and protect the livelihoods of those dependent upon it.”

Image: John Lewis

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